EU should speak with one voice on Karabakh at UN level

European Friends of Armenia has issued a call upon the EU to continue its support for the OSCE Minsk Group peace negotiations amid a new UN initiative on a Nagorno-Karabakh resolution recently launched by Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani draft resolution to be discussed at the UN General Assembly on Thursday 9 September is expected to be voted against by the three Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group, France, Russia and the USA. But according to EuFoA’s sources, a common response by all EU countries is not yet clear, despite the longstanding and clear EU support for the Minsk Group.

 

“The OSCE Minsk Group remains the only internationally mandated format of the mediation efforts. We have come a very long way and the process is full of specific sensitivities. I hope that all EU countries will speak with one voice at the UN to reiterate the EU’s support for a conclusion of the negotiations under the Minsk Group. No UN resolution should endanger those negotiations and I hope that the EU capitals and the EU High Representative Ashton are now co-ordinating their actions”, commented EuFoA General Secretary Michael Kambeck.

 

While this initiative may seem harmless, EuFoA is very worried and considers it as dangerous for at least three reasons:
  1. It is yet another Azerbaijani attempt to bring this conflict to a different forum, one where Azerbaijan believes to have more support, especially from friendly Islamic countries. But this ethnic conflict has never had a religious basis and neither Islamic countries nor anyone else interested in peace should now add such a religious component.
  2. The Minsk Group Co-Chairs have stated that the steps to a peaceful resolution of the conflict are so clear and the negotiations are so advanced that they could be concluded very quickly, if there was more good-will. Being so close to the goal, a change of the forum could derail the whole process.
  3. The resolution text singles out the Azerbaijani views, especially regarding the principle of territorial integrity. However, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs have made it clear in their Almaty statement of 17 July 2010 that ALL the proposed principles of a peaceful solution of the conflict “have been conceived as an integrated whole and any attempts to select some elements over others would make it impossible to achieve a balanced solution”. In other words, the UN draft would have to be entirely re-written or simply rejected to avoid any jeopardy of the OSCE Minsk Group negotiations.

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